Page last updated at 09:47 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 10:47 UK

Dudamel takes on LA Philharmonic

Gustavo Dudamel
Dudamel received a rapturous reception at the 2007 Proms in London

Conductor Gustavo Dudamel has vowed to bring classical music to a younger and less elite audience as he becomes music director of the LA Philharmonic.

The 28-year-old Venezuelan held his first rehearsal with the orchestra in Los Angeles on Wednesday, ahead of a free inaugural concert this weekend.

Some 18,000 people are expected to attend the concert at the city's Hollywood Bowl on Saturday.

"One very important thing is to bring all the community to music," he said.

"It can sound romantic, it can sound crazy... but dreams can come true," Dudamel told a packed press conference.

The conductor has been widely praised for bringing a new dynamism and energy to the world of classical music.

Underprivileged children

Dudamel trained as a conductor and violinist in Venezuela's El Sistema - a unique network of music schools which has educated more than a quarter of a million children from a variety of backgrounds.

At 18, he was named director of Venezuela's national youth orchestra and went on to become principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Since his arrival in Los Angeles, the conductor has already has set up the first of three youth orchestras with children from underprivileged areas in southern California.

The orchestra will perform at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, ahead of the Philharmonic - with the entire concert simulcast on big screens outside the venue.

"I think we will have a beautiful journey... the most important thing is to enjoy," said Dudamel, reflecting on his new role at the Philharmonic.

"I'm doing what I love to do," he said, simply.

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